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NYT Forced To Respond To Gov. Paterson ‘Bombshell’ Rumors

Wow. Well welcome to the new, new journalism where even the New York Times editorial board is forced to go meta. Seriously meta. Apparently, the rumors about a Paterson, fueled in equal parts by the blogosphere and the venerable New York City tabloids, got so out of hand the Times felt they had to push back in a editorial blog post. Snake eating its own tail, etc.

Albany — long a place of scandal, the rumor of scandal and the echoing talk about the rumor of scandal — has had a week a bit unlike any other. Newspapers, blogs, reputable outfits and fringe gossip sites have worked themselves into a frenzy about a purported article in The New York Times that would be so scandalous as to compel Gov. David A. Paterson to resign.

It has often been a self-feeding, self-referential frenzy, and it has managed to get Mr. Paterson pretty worked up, too. He’s been asked questions by reporters about a story the reporters don’t know exists, and he has denied rumors about what that story that he doesn’t know exists might say.

One of his possible Republican rivals, Rick Lazio, has called for the article no one knows exists to be published or for The Times to say it doesn’t exist, all to clear the good name of the governor and end “the psychological warfare” against him.

The Times went directly to the source to clear this up, namely, Gov. Paterson himself, asking him to clarify what was asked of him during his interview with…the Times.

Mr. Paterson on Tuesday met for 90 minutes with a reporter from The Times, and when asked later at a news conference if he had been asked about the most salacious of the rumors, he said he had not.

“No such questions related to any of that information was asked of me at any interview,” he said. “The article will be written about other subjects.”

But Mr. Paterson then criticized the paper for not formally tackling the issue of the story everyone is talking about that doesn’t exist.

“They don’t seem to be interested in addressing it or doing anything about it — I think it’s appalling,” he said.

It’s like some terrible game of media Telephone. The result being that when the not-bombshell article finally comes out the only interesting thing about it will be what it doesn’t cover. Gov. Paterson: the clean living politician! This may end up being the best thing that happened to him.

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